The Long Beach Water Department in California recently launched a new program to certify local restaurants as being water and energy efficient. Called the Certified Blue Restaurant Program, it recognizes eateries that have “exceptional” water efficiency.
In order to meet the certification requirements, a restaurant must have kitchen hand sinks with a half-gallon per minute rate or lower, an Energy Star-certified dishwasher, toilets that have a rate of 1.6 gallons per flush or lower, restroom faucets with a half-gallon-per-minute rate or lower, and pre-rinse spray valves that have a rate of 1.1 gallons per minute or lower. Where applicable, the program also requires that restaurants have air-cooled ice machines, dipper wells that are heated or use non-continuous flow technology, a pressure washer and/or water broom, and connectionless or boilerless food steamers.
Restaurant owners interested in certification can fill out a short online questionnaire and then receive a free onsite efficiency survey. The program provides some water efficiency devices and also assesses the establishments for possible rebates. Certified restaurants could save “an incredible amount of water, energy and money” on their monthly utility bills, according to the department.
Delivering water to the restaurants is energy intensive because the water must be treated, pumped into the businesses, and then pumped back to wastewater facilities for treatment, the EPA points out. Calling the connection between water and energy “drops to watts,” the EPA estimates that 3% to 4% of national electricity consumption — equivalent to approximately 56 billion kilowatts or $4 billion — is used to provide drinking water and wastewater services every year.
The first Long Beach restaurant to be Certified Blue is Boba Tea House, a Vietnamese cafe, the Long Beach Press-Telegram reported.